Ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Tripura on November 21, the Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI) has submitted a memorandum cautioning the BJP of the potential loss that the party may incur in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.

Shah will be in Tripura on Sunday to lay the foundation stone of the Forensic Sciences University.

The Chakmas have a bone to pick with the saffron party against the growing alienation of their community as a result of a nation-wide repression on them in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram. The CDFI believe this could have direct impact on the electoral outcomes in seven Chakma dominated Assembly constituencies of Tripura.

“The Home Minister is visiting Tripura on Sunday to inaugurate the institute but Chakmas are facing serious repression in the entire country. The only dominant factor is that Chakmas are in Tripura where they are dominant in seven Assembly constituencies. Chakmas are losing faith in the BJP due to the ongoing repression. In this age of Information Technology, nothing is confidential, nothing remains within a particular area,” Suhas Chakma, founder of CDFI told EastMojo.

“Out of these four States where the Chakmas are facing the repression, three States i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura are ruled by the BJP while Mizoram is ruled by the Mizo National Front which is a member of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). Therefore, there are legitimate questions in the minds of the Chakmas as to whether their rights are being protected by the BJP led governments,” Suhas Chakma said.

The increasing alienation will cause the Chakmas to go to other parties if BJP cannot protect them he said, also stating that it was due to the partition that Chakmas were very close to the BJP but if they are continued to be alienated in this manner, BJP may lose assembly seats. “That is going to make their life very difficult, so they have to stop this,” the CDFI founder reaffirmed.

“Out of the 20 reserved Assembly seats for the Scheduled Tribes in Tripura, the Chakmas are dominant and deciding factors in seven Assembly constituencies of Chawamanu (39,471 electors in 2018), Karbook (34,761 electors), Karmachara (37,766 electors), Kanchanpur (41,975 electors), Manu (42,843 electors), Pecharthal (40,227 electors) and Raima Valley (43,415). At present, two Assembly constituencies of Tripura i.e. Chawamanu and Pecharthal are held by two MLAs belonging to the Chakma community and the BJP,” explained Suhas Chakma.

In the memomrandum CDFI highlighted proposed relocation of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh sixty years after their permanent settlement announced by the Chief Minister Pema Khandu on his Independence Day address on 15 August 2021.

They also condemned illegal eviction of over 110 Chakma tribal families at Thedongnala under Lumding Circle in Hojai District of Assam during eviction drive since November 8, despite the Chakmas inhabiting in the area for over last 40 years and directions issued on August 2 by Tripura government to conduct investigation into alleged influx of only Chakmas as alleged foreigners despite more influx from the other communities.

Snatching of the Scheduled Tribes status from the Chakmas as non-Mizo people under the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 by allocating only 1% of the seats for the Chakmas in higher technical education, as instances of nation-wide repression on 225,000 Chakmas in India as per 2011 census, was another issue highlighted in the memorandum.

As remedial measures, CDFI has urged Home Minister Amit Shah to direct the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Shri Pema Khandu to issue an official statement rejecting the proposed illegal and unconstitutional relocation of the Chakmas and Hajongs.

CDFI has also appealed to Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma to immediately provide rehabilitation and resettlement to all the Chakma families as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.

Further, the organization also urged Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb to stop the ‘Chakmas only’ investigation and the Governor of Mizoram to examine the constitutionality of the Mizoram (Selection of Candidates for Higher Technical Courses) Rules, 2021 especially in the light of the judgment in PIL NO.49 of 2016 (Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union Vs The State Of Mizoram) and issue necessary directions to the Government of Mizoram to withdraw the ‘unconstitutional’ rules.

Also read: Tripura: EVMs checked ahead of upcoming civic polls

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